As my last post mentioned some time ago, I felt that my place wasn’t in the classroom for the long term. However, it seems to have become impossible to actually leave it. After a “vacation” of about two months, I found myself in the hallways of Amistad Academy waiting to teach a demo lesson for a long-term substitute position.
When the recruiter called, I actually said nothing for a full 30 seconds before stammering out, “actually, I’m trying to leave the classroom.” Then about 10 minutes later, I called her back and said I would interview. I had about a week to prepare a demo lesson; I planned it the day before. I was so sure that this was not what I wanted to do I just didn’t worry about it. And for those who know me, not worrying is just really not very Lauren.
I found the principal very amiable. Parenthetically, I have a long-standing and deep-seated distrust of principals based on a somewhat long ago unfairness by one which terminated with a threat to end my teaching career. Some things really are that traumatic. In fact, every time I have come across this principal – the one I interviewed with not the one who threatened me – he has continued to ask about me. I have rarely come across someone who disarms a suspicious me quite so thoroughly. Due to a long set of circumstances, I ended up at another school entirely, teaching another subject for a different length of time.
I was forced to resign from my teaching assignment in Hartford at the end of September 2009. I spent about two months out of the classroom before returning. My job in New Haven is approximately for the same length of time I spent out of the classroom last year. In some way, I will feel that I truly finished my 5th year at the end of this term.
This whole time at Elm City I’ve been telling myself don’t get attached. Don’t get attached to these kids or your coworkers. Don’t get attached because you’ll be leaving soon. Don’t let anyone in. Do your job, and go home. This plan has been a total fail because I’m facing my last days with my 5th and 6th scientists, and my heart is a little broken. I have been able to shut my heart to adults but kids … what do you say when they ask if their “real” teacher can go teach something else so you can stay with them? I know that in a few weeks they will kind of forget about me, not entirely but mostly. They’ll be really happy to have their “real” teacher back. For the most part, I’m glad that they are so resilient.
When I look back at all that has transpired since I moved to Connecticut, the idea of continuing to be a teacher seems insane sometimes. Four schools in two and a half years? Zero stability. For whatever reason, there is something comforting about teaching. Regardless of where I am, kids are kids. They make great decisions, and they make crazy ones. They make me laugh; they make me want to smoke, swear and break furniture. Whether they’re 9 or 17, they delight and frustrate me. Often at the same time. They call on my cell to tell me they can see the waning gibbous from their house or they call me on my cell to tell me I’m a bitch. (Yes, these have both happened.)
I know that in about two weeks I’ll be sitting in a comfy chair at a Starbucks with an americano thinking what the hell do I do now? Go to law school? Keep looking for a job? I have no idea the answer to those questions. All I know is I spent the last two months doing the absolute best thing for me, proving that I am a capable teacher and that teaching didn’t make me crazy. And that I will miss my babies.